October 17, 2016 – While the media continues to pretend that only Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump can be the next President of the United States, that is not quite accurate. As the two major party candidates stoop to new lows in personal attacks and set records for being negatively viewed, there are a few candidates who prefer to focus on the issues we’re going to have to live with after the name calling has subsided; issues like the economy, trade, immigration, education and foreign policy. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrell Castle, Evan McMullin and I are still running for President, and we’re still talking about those issues.
There aren’t any tabloid videos that demonstrate our flawed character, and we don’t have to blame the Russians for hacking emails that contain content that shows what we actually believe and condone in private, so it’s difficult to get any media attention. However, there’s a chance that one of us could become President.
Admittedly, it’s a long shot, but mathematics and the Twelfth Amendment suggest that it is possible.
It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency outright. But what happens when no one gets 270 electoral votes? Under the Twelfth Amendment, the House decides the presidency in what amounts to a runoff between the top three candidates who received electoral votes. The only twist is that each state only gets one vote.
In a year in which neither of the major parties is likely to support the other party’s candidate and there is a divide among the Republicans in the House, a third alternative may represent the only viable solution. So, how can we make that happen?
Evan McMullin recently surprised the press by polling within 4% of Clinton and Trump in Utah. While this is a unique situation because of the demographics of Utah (which is heavily conservative and features a dominant Mormon population that aligns with McMullin, a BYU grad and former Mormon missionary), it provides an example of what could happen. In that regard, let me share what I call my “Rockies Strategy,” which is named after the general geography involved rather than me (in case you’re wondering).
Let’s assume for a moment that Trump squeaks out victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio and that Clinton sweeps the east and west coasts. If the Rocky Mountain States of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico came into play along with the adjacent states Arizona, Nevada, North and South Dakota with Alaska thrown in for good measure, Clinton would receive 249 electoral votes, Trump would receive 233, and “the House wins,” as they say in Las Vegas.
Now, how might this work?
None of “the Fabulous Five” (Johnson, Stein, Castle, McMullin or me) have the resources to sweep the states I mentioned, but we could agree to use our best efforts to each win a few of them. Just as importantly, we could agree to throw our support to our designated candidate in each state to improve the probability of breaking up the duopoly’s hold on the presidency.
Let’s give Utah to McMullin since he is already positioned to compete there (earning 6 electors).
Gary Johnson is the former Governor of New Mexico and could easily compete in that state (earning 5 electors). He could also potentially do well in Arizona and Alaska (earning another 11 and 3 electors, respectively).
Colorado has Libertarian leanings, but it is also very environmentally “aware.” So, let’s give Colorado to Jill Stein (earning 9 electors). Stein has also created visibility for herself with her recent arrest in North Dakota for participating in the pipeline protest. Perhaps, she could do well there and in South Dakota as well (earning 3 electors in both states).
Darrell Castle could conceivable win Wyoming (as could McMullin) given its conservative history and potential disappointment with Trump (earning 3 electors).
I could potentially win Nevada given that I received more signature petition support than Clinton and Sanders received caucus votes in the primary. That state also has a significant Hispanic American population that could favor me (earning 6 electors). I also attracted attention during the Democratic primary in Idaho and have been working to capture attention in Montana (earning 4 and 3 electors, respectively).
If this were to occur, Gary Johnson would become the third alternative for the House of Representatives to consider (with 19 electors).
Now, here’s another wrinkle.
I built somewhat of a following in Alaska during the Democratic primary. If I were to take Alaska away from Johnson under this scenario, he and I would end up tied for third with 16 electors each. Guess what? The Twelfth Amendment doesn’t offer any guidance as to how to address a situation in which no one has a majority and two candidates tied for third.
Obviously, winning theses states is an uphill battle for any of us given the media bias and the tens of millions of dollars the major parties have at their disposal in those states. However, if “the Fabulous Five” were to successfully pursue such a strategy, we just might save democracy in this country.
Would a perfect storm be required to accomplish this? Yes. But this might be the type of political “climate change” upon which everyone can agree.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
(Please feel free to express you opinion below. My only request is that you do so rationally rather than emotionally and in a civil manner that respects the rights of others to disagree.)